The beauty of homeschooling is that we don’t have to fit into the public school system’s box! But sometimes we forget how freeing this fact is and how it can make our student’s high school experience extraordinary!
In Florida, the requirements in high school are no different from the elementary grades – an annual evaluation and an updated portfolio. There are no course requirements for graduation, no number of required hours in a school a day, and nothing saying you can’t be creative with your student’s curriculum. There are, however, requirements for scholarships and college entrance. So, the first thing to determine is whether or not your child is headed toward higher education and if you will need financial assistance. But even if the answer to both of those questions is ‘yes,’ there is still a great deal of room for wiggling.
My oldest child decided she wanted to pursue a career in news broadcasting and production. She looked online at colleges in the state which had her major and we wrote down the high school requirements necessary for admittance. Although we did make sure she took the classes necessary to meet their requirements, we found additional experiences which were non-traditional. For example, she went to the local newspaper and talked to the editors about shadowing during the summer. My daughter spent the summer going on interviews, editing articles, and assisting the editor of the city magazine. At the end of the summer, she had enough hours to justify calling it a course in Magazine Editing. The relationships she made with people at the magazine helped her with letters of recommendation and networking.
My son is good at math and science, but didn’t know exactly what he wanted to study in college. So, in addition to his regular math and science courses, we supplemented his high school curriculum with the Teaching Company’s Great Courses lectures in very contemporary fields like Game Theory, Chaos Theory, Geology, and Astronomy. These were fascinating for both of us and looked impressive on his transcript.
My youngest daughter loves languages, but we didn’t know how to guide her. She ended up taking 3 years of French at a local college as a dual-enrollment student, on-line Ancient Greek, and a Great Course on linguistics called ‘The Story of Language.’ She called me her sophomore year and told me they had a guest lecturer – it turned out to be the professor from the Great Course that she took in high school. She is a senior in college studying linguistics and bibical studies and is currently doing an internship in Asia with Wycliffe Bible Translators.
These are just some ideas of how we can give our students the best and most personally tailored education available. A friend’s daughter was interested in care for seniors. During high school, her daughter worked and volunteered at local nursing homes and senior living facilities. After graduation from high school, she went on for certification and had a job while she studied!
When your student has no real direction, it can be a little more challenging, but even this can be turned into a high school opportunity. Perhaps a student could shadow a number of professionals and put together a research paper entitled ‘Career Development.’ Or that same student could develop a program for his or her peers to help them to choose a field of study.
The box is open to the homeschooler.
My last word on the subject, “Step out of the box and give your student an extraordinary education!”